Stanford University adopts FOLIO library services platform

November 8, 2023Alexis Manheim

FOLIO project logo with future of libraries is open written underneath

Behind the scenes of any library is software supporting the essential functions of acquiring, describing, and providing access to library collections. Stanford University recently adopted the FOLIO library services platform for these functions, embracing FOLIO's promise of flexibility, efficiency, and community-driven product development.

Major upgrade

Stanford's FOLIO upgrade marks the first time Stanford has migrated to a new library services platform in over 20 years. To move from two separate legacy software systems to FOLIO, Stanford’s Library Systems team migrated bibliographic and holdings data for over 12 million library items, along with data for orders, patrons, loans, and requests. Stanford’s Digital Library Systems and Services team developed several integrations between FOLIO and other systems, including Stanford's Searchworks discovery layer and a custom internal tool for managing vendor-supplied bibliographic data.

Most of the over 100 FOLIO libraries worldwide rely on a vendor to host the FOLIO software. Stanford opted for a self-hosting model, setting up a local environment that runs FOLIO.

In another notable aspect of Stanford's FOLIO migration, five major library units (Stanford Libraries, Graduate School of Business Library, Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Lane Medical Library, and Robert Crown Law Library) collaborated to harmonize workflows in FOLIO and to train 400 staff members in the technical and patron-facing service areas.

Beyond the libraries, Stanford Accounts Payable, part of University Financial Management Services, consulted on FOLIO batch-processing integrations with Stanford payment systems, offered feedback during testing and implementation, and built new automated processes.

External implementation partners

IndexData provided critical services to Stanford, starting with providing an in-depth look at FOLIO’s architecture and modules and the FOLIO community structure. Stanford then engaged IndexData for specialized data migration, load testing, and training material development.

“IndexData brought great depth and flexibility. Their expertise in knowing how everything worked and then migrating our data into the system was critical to our campus-wide success in implementing FOLIO,” says FOLIO Steering Group member Thea Allen, Lane Medical Library Director for Resource Management. 

Caia Software & Solutions developed a robust remote storage management integration to meet Stanford’s remote storage requirements that are not handled out-of-the-box in FOLIO. The integration automatically updates FOLIO inventory records as items are moved in and out of Stanford’s remote storage facility using the CaiaSoft storage management application.

Darsi Rueda, manager of Stanford’s Library Systems group, says, “We feel that CaiaSoft and FOLIO are both best-of-breed software, and are pleased that we are one of the first libraries to go live with a robust integration. We’ve gone live on both systems in the last year, and together, they have transformed our back-office processes for the better.”

GOBI Library Solutions and HARRASSOWITZ shared best practices established through their work with other FOLIO libraries. Their patient advice allowed Stanford to correct and refine the acquisitions-related system integrations that allow us to process invoices at scale. 

“Integrating FOLIO with other Acquisitions systems was essential to our overall success. We are extremely grateful for our vendor partners who went the extra mile to make our FOLIO implementation work from end-to-end,” said Sarah Forzetting, Associate Director for Acquisitions and Collections Services at Stanford Libraries.

The FOLIO Community

The FOLIO library services platform is developed and managed through an open collaboration of libraries, developers, vendors, networks, and consortia. Throughout Stanford's two-year migration process, Stanford staff have participated in community Special Interest and Working Groups and taken on leadership roles on the Product and Technical councils. 

The support of the FOLIO community was critical in Stanford's journey to exploring, learning, and adopting FOLIO. Stanford looks forward to increased involvement in the FOLIO community to support other new adopters and to help shape the future of the software and the community.

“One of the reasons we adopted FOLIO was the dynamic community of innovators. The energy, expertise, and support we received from other FOLIO libraries throughout our migration reinforced that we made a good choice for our next library services platform,” says Alexis Manheim, Associate University Librarian for Technical and Access Services and co-chair of the FOLIO Product Council.